Now that everyone is at home meal planning becomes a tricky necessity. Here are a few tips to save your budget and enjoy variety of meals throughout the week without extra trips to the store.
- Keep certain staple items at home at all times. These typically include: flour, rice or other grains, sugar, salt, basic spices, timed tomatoes and/or tomato paste, eggs, butter, oil, pasta.
- Before going out to the grocery store do an inventory of what you already have on hand. Pay attention to items that a running low, or you are out of. Check expiry dates. Make a list and follow it at the store.
- When choosing a recipe to make for lunch or dinner rely on items you already have first, then add extras that you need to buy. If you grocery shop to make a recipe, you typically end up with a lot of leftover ingredients that you use very seldom. This creates clutter and illusion of full pantry, but in fact get used up very rarely. So try to use what you got first.
- When cooking try to make enough food for at least 2 meals. Cooking fresh small meals (30min recipes cooked up right before eating time) require fresh ingredients and gobble up your time. There is nothing wrong with having leftovers for dinner.
- Large batch cooking is a great idea to create “lazy reserve” – where you freeze up half of the cooked up food to be taken out of the freezer and eaten when you do not feel like cooking. Simple way to add variety to your weekly meals. It should not be industrial amounts, doubling up a recipe is usually sufficient.
- Avoid overbuying by observing how much of what you consume during the week. How many apples you eat? How much milk you use up for the coffee per week? How many chicken breasts you need per family per week? Keeping track of food usage for a week or a month helps to have a clear estimate of how much you need to buy more without getting too much and overspending.